Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We are carefully monitoring the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and following the guidelines and recommendations of the CDC and government health agencies as we develop our response to the virus. This page shares information about our preparations and responses and will be updated as the situation evolves.

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Lowell School's campus will be closed through the end of the school year. The last day of classes will be June 5. Optional parent-teacher conferences will be held June 8–9, and virtual graduation will take place on June 10. 

Head of School Office Hours: June 2, 7:00 pm
Topic: Social-Emotional Wellness

Community Meeting June 18, 7:00 pm

List of 3 items.

  • Head of School Letter—May 29, Community Meeting Highlights

    Dear Lowell Community,
    I am glad that so many of you could join me at last night’s community meeting. Today, I am following up with a few of the highlights and some important information about next year. I also want to thank you for your fantastic response to our recent current and new family surveys. The time and attention you gave to sharing your feedback gave us very helpful data, as well as invaluable insights into how your families experienced remote learning. We have looked at the survey results both in whole and by division, and we are already using the feedback to guide our planning and decision making for next year.
    A strong partnership between the school and parents has always been a hallmark of Lowell, and we greatly value your steadfast engagement with us in these challenging times. As difficult as this moment feels for all of us, I am firm in my belief that there have already been and there will continue to be exciting opportunities for us to further the school’s mission and create deep and meaningful learning experiences for children in this new reality. I look forward to working with Lowell teachers and partnering with you as we venture forth.

    Task Force Work

    As I mentioned last night, I have convened a task force with 12 committees that will be working through the summer on all aspects of campus programming and operations:
    1. Admissions
    2. Auxiliary Programs and Services
    3. Campus Operations and Facilities
    4. Community
    5. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
    6. External Communications 
    7. Finance and Legal Issues
    8. Health and Safety
    9. Management Team
    10. Teaching and Learning
    11. Technology Infrastructure
    12. Wellness
    Using the District’s recommendations for reopening and CDC guidelines as the standard of care, their task is to ensure we are ready to begin school with a robust program in September whether we are able to open campus or not.
    In past communications, I have shared three different scenarios for opening in September. All current information suggests a hybrid model, with learning happening on and off campus at the same time. This model will allow us to keep on-campus groups small, mitigate risk of infection, and also keep learning going for everyone by using remote platforms. This is the model the task force will be focusing on and planning for, and I will share more about the task force work at our next community meeting on June 18.

    Contracts and the June 1 Binding Date

    The June 1 binding date for enrollment contracts for the 2020-2021 school year is right around the corner. I understand that this date represents a significant commitment for families, especially with the changes and uncertainty that COVID-19 has brought to school and family life. And so, I want to make sure that the terms of the contract are clear so that your family has the information you need as you think about next year.
    If your family must make the difficult decision to withdraw from Lowell, you may do so without any further financial obligation to the school by notifying me in writing on or before June 1. If you make the decision to withdraw your child after June 1, you will be responsible for the 2020-2021 tuition. To be fully transparent, if you decide to withdraw now, we cannot promise that a space for your child or financial aid will be available should you change your mind in the future.
    I recognize that decisions about next year are particularly difficult for those of you who have very young children and because I cannot tell you what next year will look like. Our ability to make decisions about what next year will look like depends on having a clear picture of our enrollment and revenue.
    As announced previously, we will not be charging for next year’s bus service or After Care at this time. Once decisions have been made about what the fall will look like, we will share more about these programs and their cost.
    If you have further questions about the enrollment contract or the June 1 binding date, please call Director of Finance and Operations Chris Ginter for clarification. If you have questions about financial aid, please call Financial Aid Manager Jar Lampard.

    The Start of School

    The 2020-2021 school year will begin as planned after Labor Day. Major dates are already on our online calendar for your review. While school will officially begin in September, teachers will use the month of August to get to know you and your children and to foster connections between students in various cohorts. I look forward to sharing more about the August plan in the weeks to come. The Lowell Parent Community also runs a Buddy Family program for those who are new to our community, and planning for that is underway as well.
    Right now, teachers are focusing on ending the year strong, preparing for conferences, and writing progress reports. This summer, teachers will be planning for the year ahead. By fall they will be ready to teach both on and off campus with a developmentally appropriate curriculum and a stronger sense of what it takes to foster successful learning online in a way that is both true to Lowell’s educational values and also forward thinking. They will also be ready to meet children where they are in their learning through careful assessments at the beginning of the year that will offer a critical input for maximizing learning and engagement.

    Summer Camp

    For those of you making or adjusting summer plans, our summer camp sessions through July 10 will all be virtual. You can find out more about our offerings on the summer camp webpages and at the Virtual Summer Camp Open House on Saturday, June 6 from 11:00 am–1:00 pm.
    The Auxiliary Programs team is closely monitoring DC’s reopening, as well as advice from health officials, and will make a decision about holding camp on campus for the July 13-31 session closer to that time. We are still hoping some version of in-person camp can be held for children ages K–5th grade. 


    Keeping the lines of communication open in the weeks and months ahead is important to me, so between now and the fall there will be more opportunities for us to connect than is usual over the summer. Office hours and community meetings will continue, and I plan to stay in touch via email as well. My hope is that these times will allow me not only to update you on task force work and decisions about next year but also to be present for you because I know how challenging the uncertainties are for all of us. 
    I hope you will join me next Tuesday, June 2 at 7:00 pm for office hours when we will be talking about social-emotional well-being and on June 18 at 7:00 pm for another community meeting.
    As we work through the summer, we will be keeping an eye on the decision making of our government and health officials as we engage deeply and intentionally to take on all aspects of school life so that we re-open stronger and better than ever in a few months. 
    Donna Lindner
    Head of School
  • Head of School Letter—May 26, Pre-Primary School Update

    Dear Pre-Primary School Parents,
    As we come to the end of this school year, I know that some of you are wondering with curiosity and perhaps anxiety about what September will bring for your children’s learning. I imagine that out of the three divisions, you have the most immediate interest in the educational framework for next year. After all, remote learning is least aligned with the developmental ages of our students in the Discovery, Explorers, Voyagers, and Adventurers classrooms. And yet, in the absence of the ability for teachers and students to be in the same place at the same time, remote learning can be a useful tool for meeting the educational goals for students.
    The Teaching and Learning Task Force will have the Pre-Primary student experience as a key focus of their work in the weeks to come. In addition, the teachers, Stefania, and I have already begun to design possible models of instruction for the next school year, which we anticipate will be a blend of on-campus and virtual learning. While I cannot offer you a completed blueprint of what the coming school year will look like for your child, I can share the following guideposts for our decision making:
    The health and safety of our students and teachers is our first priority.
    Our aim with every decision is to mitigate the risks to our community should we return to campus. All scenarios involving a return to Lowell, among other factors, include plans for monitoring the health of those on campus and following social distancing guidelines from government and health officials, including the CDC. In the case of the Pre-Primary division, the guidelines also include those required by the DC Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE).
    We will likely be engaged in remote and on-campus learning off and on next school year, with a possibility that the fall will begin with a hybrid model.
    Last week, Mayor Bowser’s Reopen DC task force made the recommendation that schools not reopen 100% until a vaccine is in circulation. Therefore, our focus at this time is on designing a return-to-school protocol that emphasizes safety and continued social distancing for all ages whether on campus in small groups or at home.
    Our goals for the Pre-Primary School experience continue to be 1) providing continuity of learning, 2) providing continuity of social connection with peers and families, and 3) providing support and coaching for parents.
    These have been consistent goals of our program, and goals that we aim to maintain next year through the continued expertise of our master teachers and outside experts like the Child Development Consultants. We are committed to lessening the impact of the remote learning structure on student learning as much as possible.
    The teachers, Stefania, and I continue to be engaged in learning plan design that is academically and developmentally appropriate for each age level, offers parents increased support and flexibility, and speaks to the social-emotional needs of the age groups in the division. We are brainstorming multiple schedules from which parents can choose, providing options that come closer to matching individual family needs than our current approach. We are beginning to think about units that could be packaged and provided to parents for more effective student learning at home if necessary. We are also thinking about ways to use technology for live interactions with parents and students in ways that are more aligned with developmentally appropriate philosophy and practices. We expect that this work will be formalized and continue throughout the summer.
    Paying tuition for an at-home, Pre-Primary School education feels different for some parents than paying for an on-campus or hybrid experience.
    Lowell has provided the best educational experiences possible for your children under circumstances beyond our control, and your survey feedback acknowledges the extraordinary efforts of our faculty. I will be working with the Board of Trustees and our financial task force in the first weeks of summer to reassess our tuition model for the division, aiming to balance the realities of learning off-campus for Pre-Primary School students and families with the realities of tuition as a necessity for maintaining the ecosystem of Lowell, as well as planning appropriately for Pre-Primary School staffing and programming. Our goal is to announce to you any adjustments we might make by mid-July.
    In spite of the uncertainty ahead for all of us, the quintessential parts of a Lowell experience will continue to ground our program and our school.
    We are an institution made up of authorities in child development who know their craft and your children, value their social-emotional growth, and believe in the power of community and connection. These traits of a Lowell education are the foundation of the student experience in the Pre-Primary School, and I look forward to our partnership with you in providing this experience for your child next year and in the years to come. 
    Donna Lindner
    Head of School
  • From the Board of Trustees–May 2, School Finances

    Dear Lowell Community,
    We are writing today to provide you information about Lowell’s participation in the Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) program. With the full support of the Lowell School Board of Trustees and the head of school, the Finance Committee of the Board recently secured a loan under the PPP that will help fortify Lowell’s ability to weather the COVID-19 crisis. 
    Many independent schools are enlisting the help of the PPP program, and Lowell School is no exception. Lowell applied for a PPP loan through our bank, SunTrust,  and qualified to receive funding in the first wave of disbursements under the program. The SBA determined that Lowell was eligible to receive nearly $1.7 million, which we are happy to report we received last Friday, April 24. The funds that this loan provides will go towards compensating faculty and staff over a two-month period, and indeed some of the funds have already been used for this purpose.
    Guaranteed funding for our faculty and staff through the end of the school year allows the Board to better plan for the fallout of the current and future economic downturn. We already know that the COVID-19 crisis has impacted revenues from the bus service, auxiliary programs, and summer camp, and we are actively preparing for a potential further reduction in revenues in the months ahead. Lowell’s primary concerns about revenue in the short term relate to the auction, annual fund, summer camp, and enrollment for 2020-2021. The revenue from those streams accounts for over $4 million dollars in our annual budget. In addition, much like your own retirement investments, the value of Lowell’s investments is down about 15%, representing about a $2 million decrease.
    Some institutions with endowments have faced criticism for accepting a PPP loan. While Lowell does indeed have an endowment, it is a modest one (about $7.5 million). Over one-third of the endowment is restricted, primarily to support teacher salaries, tuition, and socio-economic diversity initiatives. Much of the remainder helps us to be in compliance with the terms of our bank loan. Put simply, our lender requires that we must maintain a minimum level of liquid assets.
    Moreover, because a crucial part of Lowell School’s budget provides financial aid, we want to ensure that we can sustain the necessary aid to the one-third of our families who currently or may in the future need to receive some measure of financial relief. If anything, we know that the financial needs of some of our families will become even greater in the months ahead, and we are thus working to ensure that we have the resources available to help meet these anticipated needs. 
    Why share our detailed financial strategy this way? The answer is twofold.
    First, we want you to understand how seriously we take our responsibility to safeguard the school and its future. Due to the challenging nature of this crisis, the Board, like you, is working in a way that we never imagined. Securing a stable financial future for Lowell has always been at the forefront of our planning, and the challenge of ensuring the financial health of the school looms as large now as it ever has. We will do everything we can to continue supporting this institution that we love.
    Second, all of us in the Lowell community face a time of great uncertainty, including economic uncertainty. We are committed to supporting our faculty, staff, and families, and to maintaining the socio-economic diversity that is the lifeblood of who we are at Lowell. That is why, if you have the resources, participation in the Auction for Economic Diversity and the Annual Fund is more important this year than it has ever been.
    In closing, we hope this letter finds your family coping in these uncertain times. The Lowell School Board of Trustees will be here to support you now and into the future.
    Marcie Bane                                                                           
    Chair of the Board                                                                 
    Donna Lindner
    Head of School
    Harry Bainbridge
    Treasurer of the Board

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  • Travel Guidance Revised 4/29/2020

    Current travel recommendations from the CDC.

    State Department Global Level 4 Health Advisory: Do Not Travel (March 19, 2020)

    "The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel. Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.  Airlines have canceled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips.  If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe."

    We ask that all community members follow State Department and CDC guidelines for international and domestic travel.

    Anyone who has traveled to or through a country deemed Level 3 by the CDC must follow CDC and department of health guidelines, inform Nurse Mary, and practice self isolation for a minimum of 14 days taking a temperature twice daily and paying attention to symptoms of illness.

    Anyone who has traveled to a region where COVID-19 spreading and who is experiencing symptoms should reach out by phone to doctors and report to Nurse Mary any guidance you or your family receives from local health officials.
  • Prevention - Revised 4/6/2020

    Knowing how viruses spread is the first step in prevention. WHO and the CDC recommends the best way to prevent contracting coronavirus is to avoid being exposed. The coronavirus is believed to be spread person-to-person through close contact, less than 6 feet apart, through respiratory droplets.

    The most effective way to protect yourself and others is to minimize the spread of infectious disease by social distancing and following a few basic health best practices.

    For more detailed information, please visit the World Health Organization's Advice for the Public page on prevention.
  • Symptoms-Updated 4/29/2020

    The CDC and WHO list the following as symptoms of COVID-19 needing medical attention:
    • Fever
    • Tiredness
    • Dry Cough
    • Shortness of Breath
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added six symptoms to its COVID-19 list, suggesting health experts are learning more about the growing number of ways physicians see the virus affecting patients. Issues that could appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus are:
    • Chills
    • Repeated shaking with chills
    • Muscle pain
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • New loss of taste or smell
    Symptoms may appear up to 2-14 days after exposure. The CDC and the WHO recommend that you seek medical advice if you develop symptoms, have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently been in an area with the ongoing spread of COVID-19.

    If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:

    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face
    *This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
  • What To Do If You Are Sick-Updated 4/6/2020

    If you or your family members have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and other symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider. If you have questions about COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) has set up a text hotline. Go to the Coronavirus FAQ page and click "Start the Conversation" button on the right-hand side to start a WhatsApp chat.
    Visit the CDC website to learn more about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick, including how to isolate yourself at home, how to monitor your symptoms, and how to disinfect your home effectively.
    According to the CDC and WHO, the decision to stop home isolation should be made in consultation with your healthcare provider and state and local health departments. Local decisions depend on local circumstances.

    Should you or someone in your family test positive for COVID-19, we ask that you notify our school nurse, Mary van Sickle
  • Remote Learning - Revised 3/19/2020

    Lowell’s remote learning plan is designed to help students and teachers stay connected with one another and to support students’ continued growth and development while the campus is closed.

    Our plan addresses the full range of children’s learning—academic, social-emotional, and physical—with meaningful, age-appropriate opportunities for learning, both on- and off-screen. We know that our students learn best and increase their independence through hands-on activities and by doing. Teachers will share lessons, activities, and resources using routines and formats that are as familiar and engaging as possible.
    We recognize that each family’s circumstances are different, and we aim to provide activities and lessons that will be manageable for our entire community.
  • Inclusion and Equity

    Lowell is an inclusive community that values equity and social justice. With increasing reports of harassment of people who are perceived to be from countries where coronavirus is spreading, we remind our community that staying well informed of the facts, following guidelines from public health agencies, and constructively addressing fears or worries are the most effective ways to respond to the virus. We will not tolerate bullying, harassment, or stigmatizing behaviors of any kind.
  • School Trips and Events-Updated 4/6/2020

    Given the nature of the virus and its impact both internationally and domestically, all school trips and in-person events have been canceled or postponed. Meetings are taking place online.

    Please check the school calendar for the most up-to-date information. If you do not find the information you need, contact the meeting/event organizer or our event management staff for assistance.

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All spring events have been canceled or postponed. Please check the calendar for the most up-to-date information.

Local Health Departments

Lowell School is a private PK-8th grade school located in NW Washington, DC. At Lowell students gain the knowledge, skills, and social-emotional literacy to be the bold leaders and creative problem solvers our world needs.